Ikorodu Bois, a Nigerian internet group who recreate, and mimic multi-million dollar music videos and Hollywood trailers, have finally attracted international attention.
They recently earned an invite to the world premiere of Netflix action thriller, ‘Extraction 2′ after making a remake of the first trailer.
In 24 hours, the video garnered four million views and captured the attention of the director and star actor, Chris Hemsworth.
The group comprises three brothers, Babatunde Sanni, 23, Muiz Sanni,16, Malik Sanni, 10; and their cousin Fawas Aina, 13.
In this interview with PREMIUM TIMES, the group, which began in 2017, when they decided to share their skills to the world via social media, share their story.
PT: How did Ikorodu Bois begin?
Sanni: Ikorodu Bois was all my idea and my thinking. I founded Ikorodu Bois when I was home on holiday from the university. I simply converted Muiz’s Instagram handle to the group’s name Ikorodu Bois. I told them to start mimicking celebrities the way they could.
We decided to call ourselves Ikorodu Bois because Ikorodu is where we live, it’s our hometown and we are natives of Ikorodu. We thought about what we could call ourselves and I felt like let’s call ourselves Ikorodu Bois.
Then we started making the videos, I am the brain behind the videos but I don’t usually show my face in the videos. I allow my younger siblings to enjoy the spotlight but when it is time for interviews, I come forward. We started out with viral videos and we kept upgrading our contents from viral videos to music videos to movie trailers. The next one, no one knows, probably a Hollywood film and not a trailer.
PT: Take us through your creative process at the inception.
Sanni: Not many people know that we started with translating cartoon videos into Yoruba; the first video we mimicked was Kanye West’s video. We did it for fun, and people started reposting the videos. The next video we mimicked was by DJ Cuppy; I wasn’t even around when they shot that video. It was after I got back home later that day that I realised they had uploaded the video on Instagram and it had gained many likes and views.
PT: How about their education?
Sanni: We stay in Ikorodu and they are doing fine in school. They are doing great although the whole COVID-19 thing is affecting education worldwide but we’re fine, they are in school and the skit doesn’t affect their education. They school in Ikorodu. Malik actually wants to go into acting later in life, but his elder brother, Muiz, still wants to be a doctor.
PT: Do you have the support of your parents?
Sanni: Definitely, they are in support. You know, when I started this whole thing years back, you know it is normal for African parents to kind of like feel disturbed when you’re doing things on social media. It has now gotten to a point when they realised that what we are doing is actually a great job. They are giving us their 100 per cent support.
PT: What are some of the challenges you encounter?
Sanni: Basically, I think one of the challenges we face is the fact that we have to reenact videos, shot for shot. When we are working on a particular video, we shoot it scene by scene.
It’s been a really difficult one for us but because we are doing it for passion, we face the time and dedicate all the time we need to give it. We give it all it takes to make sure it comes out exactly how we want. I don’t know if you get it but the biggest challenge we’ve had is having to work on videos shot for shot.
PT: You guys must no doubt be mini-celebrities here in Ikorodu?
Sanni: Yeah sure, sure. Celebrities are people that are famous and I don’t think there is anyone that will say he doesn’t know Ikorodu Bois in Ikorodu. That’s not the point, the point is we think to a point, people know the Ikorodu Bois in Ikorodu.
PT: What would you say is your breakthrough moment?
Sanni: That’s a tough one. You see, when we started, there was a time when we reenacted Dj Cuppy’s video, that video put us on the line. After DJ Cuppy released a video of her dancing to her song in Epe, one of them, Malik, mimicked her and it was hilarious. It was after this we shot the video. We felt very honoured and happy when we met DJ Cuppy at the Rhythm Unplugged event last year; she was surprised when she saw us perform at the event. She even reposted the recent video we did about her family on her birthday.
The first one we did two years back put us on the line, people started getting familiar with the name, but now, people are getting familiar with the name internationally and people want to see what the Ikorodu Bois do internationally. That’s why we do international videos now as well as local videos.
PT: Let’s talk about your reenactment of “Extraction 2”. It appears to be the game-changer for your group.
Sanni: You are not wrong. Actually, our aim and target for making the extraction video was to make Chris Hemsworth and his crew notice our creativity and this didn’t just happen.
They are also inviting us to the Extraction 2 premiere. Immediately we saw Hemworth’s tweet we were extremely happy because it what we’ve been waiting for all our lives.
All thanks to our fans, we have been active on social media since 2017, when we launched our Instagram handle. We have already amassed 600,000 followers on the platform and another 100,000 plus on Twitter, which is where our Extraction trailer got noticed.
— ikorodu bois (@IkoroduB) June 24, 2020
PT: Why did you choose to reenact the movie?
Sanni: I edit and manage the trio and we have been shooting the “Ëxtraction” video since June. We got the idea after we watched “Extraction” on Netflix, we really loved the movie which was one of the “top 10 Netflix movies’ ‘ at the time.
So, my brothers decided to re-enact the video, and this took us approximately one month, and some days to tidy up the shoot. We kept on reshooting just because we wanted to give it our best shot. We shoot in our compound and on our street.
PT: What are some of your other viral videos?
Sanni: One of our most recent music video remakes of the uber-popular Roddy Ricch’ song “The Box”, using wheelbarrows in the place of superfast sports cars also got us so much online buzz.
— ikorodu bois (@IkoroduB) March 5, 2020
In April, we created and shared their own shot-by-shot replica of the trailer of Money Heist season 4. The video, which went viral on social media, gained the attention of Spanish actor, Álvaro Morte, the lead character who goes by the name, The Professor or Salvador “Salva” Martín in Money Heist.
— ikorodu bois (@IkoroduB) April 23, 2020
PT: Chris Hemsworth actually retweeted your video. How did that make you guys feel?
Sanni: We were so happy because the video we’ve been making online for over three years would now be something taking us to great places. We are so happy people are getting to know us globally.